Don't let romance get in the way of logic, that's one warning from the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana (BBB).
The BBB says ‘catfishing' scams are on the rise.'Catfishing' by definition is when internet predators fabricate online identities to trick people into emotional and romantic relationships.
Sharane Gott, president and CEO of the BBB, says during the month of February these types of scams happen more often because people are looking for that love connection. Gott says ‘catfishing' crooks snag you with emotion.
They use fake pictures, engage in deep conversations and eventually gain your trust. That's when they start asking for money, often for travel expenses so they can visit, something that never happens. People throughout Acadiana have been taken for hundreds and even thousands of dollars all because they acted on emotion rather than logic.
BBB is warning singles to know the warning signs of “catfishing,” or romance scams. Be wary of anyone who:
- Asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service. Oftentimes, this allows fraudsters to carry out scams without the dating site having a record of the encounter. Remember that scammers play on emotion… and romance is certainly a strong emotion. Anytime people are vulnerable, fraudsters find opportunity.
- Claims to be from this country but is currently traveling, living or working abroad. Scammers come up with all kinds of excuses why they can't meet in person just yet. Be cautious of online daters who claim to be called away suddenly, or to be in the military and stationed overseas.
- Asks you for money or credit card information. In some cases the scammer will claim an emergency like a sick relative or stolen wallet, and will ask you to wire money. The first wire transfer is small but the requests keep coming and growing. Or he may ask for airfare to come for a visit. The payback promises are empty; the money's gone, and so is he.
- Sends you emails containing questionable links to third-party websites. Third-party links can contain malware that's designed to steal personal information off your computer. Scammers may use third party links that look credible, but in reality, they only link to viruses that can lead to identity theft.